Raj Bhavan is a residential palace situated in Dona Paula, Goa which serves as the official residence of the Hon’ble Governor of Goa. The sprawling 88 acres estate is located on a cape in the Goan capital, Panjim, known by the name "Palacio do Cabo". It hosts a number of residential suites along with the landmarks such as “Our Lady of the Cape Church”, “Grotto”, “The Estate”, “The Estate Beach”, “The Canon Point” and “The Jetty”. Till date these landmarks were not open for the general public, however the Hon’ble Governor has decided to open the doors of Raj Bhavan for the general public w.e.f 5th Jan 2019. Citizens will get to explore the grandeur and architectural beauty of Raj Bhavan, which will in turn generate revenue to the Government.
Down the estate, on the Western side, just 3 minutes' drive from the Raj Bhavan through the forests, is a spot, named as 'Cannon Point'. A suitable small park, pathways and lighting have been provided at this scenic spot. Two old cannons, which were located and lifted from the shore waters, are placed on pedestals here. This place offers a beautiful view of the sunset and the ever-surging tides of the Arabian sea lustily lashing at the shore.
Our Lady of the Cape Church
It is small yet extremely elegant. The main altar is of wood with very rich carvings and painted in white and gold. It was probably erected in the early seventeenth century alongwith the renovations and additions which had been made by the Governor-General D. Matias de Albuquerque.
A short distance away from the chapel, laterite steps lead down to a grotto where there is an altar dedicated to Santa Paula. Her image lies in a recumbent position. Her legs are maimed. Behind St. Paula is the image of Jesus Christ on a trefoil cross. How this statue of Santa Paula came to the grotto is shrouded in mystery. There is a legend that the figure was washed ashore. It was thrown back into the sea by the villagers but it kept coming back. It was then placed in the grotto by the villagers. There is a belief that anyone who prays to Santa Paula and lights a candle, has his wish fulfilled. Santa Paula lived from 347 to 404 AD. She hailed from an illustrious Roman family and was a staunch devotee of St. Jeromme. On losing her husband, she donated all her property to charity. She followed St. Jeromme on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, alongwith her daughter and a group of Roman ladies who had vowed to lead a life of religious austerity. They settled down in a convent around the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The Feast of the Grotto is celebrated on 2nd August (evening). A large number of persons, living in the Raj Bhavan campus, as well as the nearby villages, attend this event.
The Raj Bhavan Estate, which is comprised of a spur surrounded on three sides by sea, has an area of about 80 acres. One massive laterite stone wall exists to the East, which serves as its boundary on that side. On the sea-shore, there are masonry walls, which have withstood the onslaught of time for over four centuries. The flat table land of the spur, which is about 3/4th of the total land, has steep side slopes. About 5 hectares of the flat table land is occupied by buildings, gardens, lawns, and the remaining is full of vegetations, consisting of large number of species of trees, plants, shrubs, creepers, etc. Adding new species of trees in large number has been an annual phenomenon. There is a kitchen garden, where seasonal vegetables are grown.